Net neutrality bill by Henry Waxman leaked

By Richi Jennings. September 29, 2010.

Henry Waxman (Federal Govt.)
Henry Waxman (D-Calif.), the House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman, has come up with a "compromise" network neutrality bill, in collaboration with his chums. It seems to remind me of something, but I can't quite put my finger on it. In IT Blogwatch, bloggers get déjà vu.

Your humble blogwatcher curated these bloggy bits for your entertainment. Not to mention Bizarre iPad Mods...

Grant Gross goes for gold:

Draft legislation ... would create a new network neutrality law but would prohibit the [FCC] from making its own rules ... [and] would hold mobile broadband providers to a less stringent net neutrality standard. ... The Waxman draft would allow the FCC to fine broadband providers up to $2 million for violating net neutrality rules.


The new draft won praise from some groups that have opposed the FCC's efforts ... to create formal net neutrality rules. ... [This] would prohibit the FCC from reclassifying broadband as a common-carrier service subject to increased regulation.

  Eliza Krigman leaked the draft:

The bill is a last-minute effort by House Energy and Commerce Chairman Henry Waxman to shepherd net neutrality legislation through the lower chamber before recess ... [he] hopes to advance the measure through the Senate during the lame-duck session after the November elections.


The House bill would stipulate that wireline providers may not block lawful Internet traffic and or "unjustly or unreasonably discriminate in transmitting lawful traffic over a consumer's wireline broadband Internet access service." ... [and] sets a Dec. 31, 2011 deadline for the FCC to deliver ... a report regarding additional authority needed ... to implement its national broadband plan and ensure the further protection of consumers.

Matthew Lasar has this stimulated emission: [You're fired -Ed.]

Does [it] sound familiar? It should. It bears a very strong resemblance to the Google/Verizon "compromise" ... proposal released to great dismay and/or acclaim in early August. ... How did we get from FCC ... proposals for clear net neutrality enforcement and ISP transparency rules based on limited common carrier provisions to this?


Massive pushback, lawsuit threatening, and Capitol Hill lobbying from the telco and cable ISPs ... open secret "back door" negotiations ... a bitterly partisan midterm election year ... [and] pressure from the White House.

The anonymous gnomes at this industry lobby group are cock-a-hoop:

The implications of this House draft are broad, important and constructive. ... [It] signals to the FCC Democrat majority ... that House Democrats do not support the radical FreePress-driven proposal to regulate broadband Internet networks. ... It proves that the FreePress-driven proposal to takeover the Internet and regulate it as a public utility is ... a non-starter.


This legislation proposes a sensible resolution and workable alternative to ... the revolutionary interests of FreePress and its allies that ... seek a utopian “information commons revolution.”

  And Peter Suderman agrees, in moderation:

Overall, it’s mixed bag: The limits on the FCC’s power ... would curtail the most significant intrusions into ISP business models. ... But allowing the FCC to decide what constitutes a Net neutrality violation on a case-by-case basis is still worrying.


Ultimately, though ... it’s a far cry from what the loudest supporters of neutrality want. ... Free Press, which remains politically influential on the left, has indicated little willingness to accept anything but the strictest proposal.

But Karl Bode is less satisfied:

Any real chance of tough net neutrality rules seems to have died a lobbyist-fueled death. ... Congress is now pushing a bill that would limit the FCC's authority at the behest of major carriers.


The draft bill appears to be a mirror image of ideas major ISPs have already agreed to in private negotiations -- including a sunset clause and vague loophole language allowing "reasonable network management."


And Finally...

10 Bizarre iPad Mods

[hat tip: Danny Ashton]

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Richi Jennings, your humble blogwatcher
  Richi Jennings is an independent analyst/consultant, specializing in blogging, email, and security. A cross-functional IT geek since 1985, you can follow him as @richi on Twitter, pretend to be richij's friend on Facebook, or just use good old email:

You can also read Richi's full profile and disclosure of his industry affiliations.

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